Melissa Matthews

Bad Feet Season Has Arrived—Here’s How to Deal

Bad Feet Season Has Arrived—Here’s How to Deal

Shoes can also feel deceivingly comfortable when you’re briefly trying them on in the store, so Dr. Kaplan says it’s best to ease into wearing any new pair. To do this, start by wearing them for 20 minutes (say, while running a quick errand) to see how they feel. Then, build up your wear time slowly. You can also test shoes at home, but keep in mind the comfort level can change depending on the surface you’re on.3. Treat yourself to a pair of supportive sandals.Sandals are a summertime staple for obvious reasons, but they can leave your feet exposed to all sorts of risks. “In a perfect world, every person would wear a sneaker all day, every day,” since they offer the best support, Dr. Kaplan says.Of course, wearing sneakers all summer isn’t fun or realistic. You can still make sandals work for you, including, flip-flops, as long as they have solid arch support, according to Dr. Markinson. This is key, since completely flat sandals put extra pressure on your feet, upping your risk for aches and pains.“You should hold the shoe in your hands and try to bend it in half,” Dr. Markinson says. “The more it resists bending in half, the better it is for support.” He also suggests gently twisting the shoe; again, more resistance generally means the sandal has a more supportive structure. Sandals that have a soft, cushioned footbed—usually made of materials like cork, foam, or leather—are more comfortable, too. (Check out these cute and supportive sandals if you’re due for an upgrade.)Pro tip: Once you find a pair of sandals your feet actually like, don’t forget to cover the tops of your feet with sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 when you’re spending time outdoors—because the last thing you want is a painful sunburn and awkward tan lines.4. Avoid walking barefoot indoors and outdoors.In addition to protecting your feet from potentially harmful objects, shoes are a barrier from infection-causing viruses, fungi, and bacteria that tend to linger on surfaces such as pool decks, Dr. Markinson says. Walking barefoot outside increases your chances of getting an unpleasant infection like athlete’s foot, which is caused by a fungus, or plantar warts, which are small growths on the feet caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), according to the Mayo Clinic. In both cases, the pathogens can enter your body through small cracks or cuts on the foot or around the toenails, leading to infections that are usually easy to treat but persistent and painful in some people, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (Both of these issues can cause complications in people who have high blood sugar, so it’s particularly important for people with diabetes to wear shoes in public places.)At home, you may want to consider wearing shoes on hard surfaces like wood if you experience foot pain. “Having something under your feet will make your feet feel better, whether it’s a slipper or a good form-fitting sandal or even a shoe like a sneaker,” Dr. Kaplan says. “You’re adding padding to your feet, so you’re not getting as much pressure in that area.”

How I Parent While Managing a Chronic Illness

How I Parent While Managing a Chronic Illness

11 p.m.I read a few pages of a book until I feel sleepy. I find that stress can trigger flare-ups, and my mind is always racing with a list of things I need to do for my family, for my job, and for my volunteer work. I find that reading or listening to audiobooks provides a break from focusing on my stress.Day 2 (Monday)6 a.m.I wake up, make my bed, and take my first shower of the day. My shower routine revolves around H.S. management. I use inexpensive antibacterial hand soap to wash areas where I typically get flare-ups. Then I use a hand shower attachment to rinse that off and put a benzoyl peroxide wash on any active lesions. I leave this on for the rest of the shower while I wash the rest of my body and hair.6:45 a.m.I make my oldest son breakfast, help him gather school supplies, and make sure that he walks to the bus stop on time.7:45 a.m.My nine-year-old wakes up. I make him breakfast and then drive him to school.8:40 a.m.It’s gym time! I used to be in so much pain due to H.S. lesions that I couldn’t even shift my weight comfortably—let alone get to the gym. Today is leg day, so I do some deadlifts, leg press, leg extensions, and standing calf raises.11 a.m.Today, I volunteer a few hours for Hope for H.S., a patient-led nonprofit that I joined eight years ago. Hope for H.S. stemmed from a support group my doctor created for people living with the disease. I joined in 2014, and I, along with others in the group, realized that there is a lot of misinformation about H.S. and not enough treatment options. Rather than wait and hope that things change, we decided to do what we could to advance the cause and created this nonprofit. I get a sense of accomplishment and purpose knowing that I can help others living with the disease.5:15 p.m.I start making dinner for my family. Tonight, we have spaghetti and meatballs with salad.6 p.m.At dinner, we play a game called “Roses, Thorns, and Buds,” which is how we learn about everyone’s day. We each share a rose, which is our favorite thing that happened, a thorn, or our least favorite thing that happened, and a bud, which is something we plan to do or hope to do.7 p.m.It’s a nice evening, so I take a walk around my neighborhood after dinner. I always invite my husband and kids along, but no one joins me tonight. I use the time to catch up on my audiobook.10 p.m.After the kids go to bed, I start my nightly routine.Day 3 (Tuesday)6 a.m.I wake up, make my bed, shower, get the kids to school, and head to the gym.8:40 a.m.Today I’m focusing on my upper body at the gym. I primarily stick to strength training because I actually enjoy it! Plus, many forms of cardio can cause friction, leading to flares.

Watching K-Dramas Improved My Mental Health By Connecting Me to My Culture

Watching K-Dramas Improved My Mental Health By Connecting Me to My Culture

For Jeanie Y. Chang, 48, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), everything about being a first-generation Korean American made her feel different from everyone else, especially in school. In college, Chang became hooked on a popular Korean drama, or K-drama, which helped her appreciate her culture for the first time. Afterward Chang had to balance the demands of motherhood, marriage, and eventually graduate school, so she rarely watched TV. It wasn’t until 2015 that Chang fully embraced her Korean culture—again with the help of a K-drama. She found that watching Korean shows was cathartic, validating, and just made her feel good. Inspired by how she felt, Chang began using K-drama examples in her corporate consulting leadership workshops and sessions with clients. After receiving positive feedback, Chang launched her YouTube channel and TikTok accounts, which discuss K-dramas from a mental health perspective, during the pandemic. Below, read Chang’s story as told to SELF’s associate health director Melissa Matthews.I was born in Seoul, South Korea, but moved to the U.S. as a baby. My family lived in a small town outside of Philadelphia, and there wasn’t a lot of diversity in the area back then. Growing up I really didn’t like being Korean because I felt like I didn’t belong. As a kid I didn’t want to stand out. But looking different from my peers, speaking a different language at home, and bringing a different kind of lunch to school made me stand out. Kids were eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch but I brought things like fried rice to school, which felt very foreign to folks in my community. I just felt very “othered.” I often questioned where I belonged.I also felt like my parents didn’t quite understand U.S. culture. I remember frequently thinking, Hello, this is not how Americans do it, and that made me reject my heritage even more. When my mom made Korean food at home, I remember saying, “Why do we have to eat this? Why can’t we just have spaghetti?” I used to detest the smell of kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish that’s quite popular nowadays. Back then people weren’t as familiar with it—and I felt mortified when my friends came over and asked why my house smelled. All of this made me feel ashamed for so long.In 1992, I started gaining a new appreciation for my culture as a freshman at NYU, where I met other Koreans my age for the first time. That year, a K-drama called Jealousy was a huge hit. I wasn’t used to seeing a lot of media representation of Asians, let alone Koreans, and the main female character, Yoo Ha-Kyung, stood out to me. She was spunky, outgoing, and outspoken, which was significant because back then there was still a cultural narrative that Korean women had to be quiet and submissive. But that show made it look cool to be Korean.Over the years I continued to watch K-dramas on and off. Eventually after getting married, having four kids, and going back to graduate school to study marriage and family therapy, I didn’t have time to watch TV. Yet in 2015, I got hooked on K-dramas again when I watched My Love From the Star, a romantic comedy about an alien stranded on Earth. I had just finished my master’s degree and was starting my career as a licensed therapist. I needed some escapism, so I turned back to K-dramas because they make me feel good—and they make me appreciate being Asian. Seeing the talented Korean women in these shows made me think, Wow, Koreans can be beautiful. That’s when I truly started embracing my culture.

How ‘The Korean Vegan’ Connects With Her Culture Through Cooking

How ‘The Korean Vegan’ Connects With Her Culture Through Cooking

Joanne Lee Molinaro, 43, started using social media to share deeply personal stories about her family for one reason: to change the way Americans view immigrants in this country. The child of North Korean parents, Molinaro felt angry and hopeless about the increasingly hostile rhetoric towards immigrants in the U.S. over the past few years. So in 2018, she began posting stories about her family on Instagram, hoping to spark compassion in others. At the time, Molinaro already had a vegan food-based Instagram account with more than 10,000 followers. And she figured if her followers loved her food, they might be open to learning about her experiences as a Korean American. Molinaro steadily gained more fans, but her popularity exploded when she started posting videos that are equal parts story time and cooking tutorial. In one, Molinaro shares the time her grandparents nearly murdered her mom as a baby—all while making s’mores. Now Molinaro has a cookbook, three million TikTok followers, and even more appreciation for Korean food. Below, read Molinaro’s story about how becoming “The Korean Vegan” deepened her relationship with her family and her culture, as told to SELF’s associate health director Melissa Matthews.I started a relationship with my now husband, Anthony, in 2014. When Anthony decided to go vegan in 2016, I worried I wouldn’t be able to cook for him anymore, which is one way I like to show my love. I wasn’t vegan myself; in fact, I had never heard of a Korean person who was vegan at the time, and I was worried that I would have to cut out the food I grew up eating with my family if I joined him. Korean cuisine has plenty of veggie-centric food, but many dishes include seafood and ingredients like fish sauce.Ultimately, I decided to give it a try but thought, If I’m going to do this, I have to figure out a way to Koreanize vegan food. At the time, I knew how to cook one or two Korean dishes that my mom taught me, but I never spent a lot of time learning to cook Korean food myself. Now, I had to be proactive if I was going to be able to continue enjoying the traditional foods my family has always eaten while also sticking to being vegan. I started by just learning about Korean food and then thought of ways to make them vegan. I spent a lot of time in my mom’s kitchen asking her, “How do you make this? Why did you use that?” I never felt pressured to make everything taste exactly the same as the original version because I knew it wouldn’t be the same. My goal was to create something that tasted delicious and reminded me a whole heck of a lot of Korean dishes.Instagram contentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

How People Deal With Migraine Attacks When It’s Too Hot Outside

How People Deal With Migraine Attacks When It’s Too Hot Outside

For most of us, April is an exciting month, because it typically signifies the beginning of sunny, carefree days ahead. But for some people who are living with migraine—about one in six adults in the U.S.1—the warmer seasons are riddled with triggers that overshadow the promises of spring.People with migraine tend to experience severe throbbing or stabbing pain in their head during an attack, potentially in addition to other difficult-to-deal-with symptoms, like nausea, sensitivity to light, and vomiting, which is why migraine is not “just a bad headache.” Understandably, all of this can make even stepping outside feel nearly impossible during a migraine attack.There is no single cause that drives the complex neurological disease, but anecdotally, some people with migraine say weather-related changes, such as lots of sunlight, heat, or atmospheric pressure fluctuations, can trigger an intense episode. And that’s in addition to the numerous other migraine triggers that may set off an attack, like stress or dehydration. It’s no surprise then, that spring and summer aren’t always full of carefree days for those who have migraine looming in the back of their minds.To illustrate how this can impact a person’s life, SELF spoke to people living with migraine who expect worsened symptoms during spring and summer. Here’s how they deal during this time of year—and the words of hope they have for others going through the same pain.1. “I come into spring and summer knowing that they’re going to be harder seasons, but I try to manage them better because I don’t want to miss out on life.”“My biggest trigger is precipitation. This is unfortunate because as a ‘control freak’ I like to control a lot of things—and the weather is one thing I can’t change. Spring and summer are crummy seasons to deal with this as a trigger because it tends to rain a lot during the warmer months, especially where I live in Washington, D.C.My goal for this year is to be kinder to myself, and part of that includes doing everything in my power to work around my migraine triggers as much as possible. I come into spring and summer knowing that they’re going to be harder seasons, but I try to manage them better because I don’t want to miss out on life. It’s one thing to be stuck in bed when it’s 22 degrees outside and sleeting, but it’s a different story when it’s 75 degrees and sunny. I want to take advantage of the sun and the fresh air!I use a migraine tracking app, so I’m hopefully able to manage the migraine more than the migraine manages me. For me, tracking my symptoms makes migraine feel like less of a mysterious, unpredictable neurological condition because I can see patterns behind my episodes.For example, I use timestamps when it starts raining. On March 5, I had a headache that started at 7:20 a.m., and I woke up at 4:09 a.m. on March 6 and saw that it was raining. Through tracking, I was able to figure out that my headaches start about 24 hours before it rains and that within four to eight hours after the rain starts, I am usually in a much better place symptom-wise. I actually give a little cheer when I see the rain—it means relief will come soon. Of course, it’s not a down-to-the-minute science. But it helps me know when to rest and when I can make plans to sip a seltzer outside with friends on a Saturday afternoon in spring.” — Savannah H., 272. “For me, going for a run without sunglasses is the equivalent of going to the gym without headphones.”“During college, I noticed that I got more migraines in the summer. After keeping a migraine journal, I figured out they happen when my eyes are exposed to direct sunlight for too long. About 30 minutes in the sun is an iffy period for me because I can start to feel the migraine forming behind my eyes. Then, it creeps backward until it encompasses my whole head. It’s not a cramping feeling. It’s just straight-up pain.

I Nearly Skipped the Mammogram That Spotted My Breast Cancer

I Nearly Skipped the Mammogram That Spotted My Breast Cancer

Tracy Lloyd knows the importance of mammograms, especially for Black women, who are disproportionately affected by breast cancer. When Lloyd was in her 20s, her older sister passed away from the disease. Lloyd vividly remembers the painful experience and started getting yearly mammograms in her mid-30s. Generally, people with average breast cancer risk are advised to get mammograms starting at 501, but people with a higher risk may begin screening earlier. In 2019, Lloyd skipped her annual mammogram. To her surprise, her doctor found a small tumor in her breast when she remembered to schedule a screening the following year. This is her story as told to SELF’s associate health director Melissa Matthews.My sister lost her life to breast cancer in her 30s. As a young Black woman, she faced a greater threat from the minute she was diagnosed. Breast cancer deaths are 40% higher among Black women compared to white women2—so I understand how important it is to schedule an annual mammogram for myself.But in 2019, I skipped my mammogram because my insurance changed when I switched jobs. I never had any symptoms that alarmed me, so I figured there wasn’t much to worry about. In August 2020, I almost skipped my mammogram again because of the pandemic. Since I work at an outpatient imaging center scheduling other people’s mammograms, I remembered to book one for myself since I already go into the office for work—otherwise I would have skipped the screening again due to COVID-19.After the mammogram, my doctor recommended doing an ultrasound. I’ve had ultrasounds before that turned out to be no big deal, so I wasn’t too concerned about it at first. But this time, my suspicion grew when the procedure started taking longer than usual. I remember thinking, “Why is she going over the same spots?”Then, one of the doctors at the medical office where I work told me I needed a biopsy because something didn’t look right. In my 20s, I had some fatty tissue that was found in an ultrasound, but it was harmless. I assumed the same fatty tissue was stirring up questions again—until I was given a diagnosis I never expected to hear.I had breast cancer.“Are you sure?” I asked the doctor. After years of normal mammograms, it was just so hard to wrap my head around it. “Yes, it’s cancer, but it’s really small,” the doctor told me. Before I knew it, we were going over when I would need to see a surgeon to remove the tumor.I left work early that day. The scariest thing about cancer is that you never know how it is going to affect you physically or emotionally—or what will happen next. As soon as I got home, the surgeon’s office called me to schedule my first appointment.Because of COVID-19, nobody else was allowed to come with me. As I sat there alone, the surgeon told me the tumor was so small she was surprised the original doctor even saw it on the mammogram and ultrasound. I had stage IA breast cancer3, a very early stage of invasive cancer, so my tumor was about the size of a grape and hadn’t spread to other areas of my body. In that regard, I was lucky. Black people are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer when the disease is more advanced and harder to treat.At that point, my surgeon thought she could do a lumpectomy, a procedure that removes the cancerous tissue in the breast. However, she also urged me to do genetic testing to determine if I was at risk of carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 cancer variants. These are inherited cancers due to genetic mutations—and they’re more prevalent in Black women4. If I had even one, I would need to have a double mastectomy to reduce my risk of having the breast cancer come back5.

101 Mental Health Resources to Help You Process the Past Year and Then Some

101 Mental Health Resources to Help You Process the Past Year and Then Some

53. Yesenia Dominguez, L.C.S.W.: A licensed clinical social worker practicing in California, Dominguez calls herself a “Latina trauma therapist.” This feed offers practical tips for managing conflict. A few recent helpful posts talk about starting difficult conversations and how exactly to form “I” statements.54. Kim Guerra, M.F.T.: Marriage and family therapist Guerra runs the popular Brown Badass Bonita account. In her posts, Guerra encourages mariposas (butterflies in Spanish) to “give themselves wings” and to own their power. In addition to positive affirmations, Guerra posts about sexuality, liberation, relationships, and self-acceptance.55. Marcela Sabiá: A Brazilian illustrator, Sabiá offers words of affirmation, love, and reassurance posted with her artwork. Follow along to read her posts about anxiety, body acceptance, and uplifting others.56. Latinx Grief: Created by Paulina Isabel Almarosa, licensed clinical social worker and counselor, this feed offers “grief support and education via storytelling.” During a very painful time, this resource may help you process some difficult feelings. As a second-generation Mexican American, Almarosa pays special attention to the particular forms of grief experienced in immigrant communities.57. Contigo Wellness: This organization hopes to provide “equity and access to mental health education and care to underrepresented Latinx individuals & decrease mental health stigma.” They do this by posting inspirational messages and resources in English and Spanish.58. Latinx Parenting: Focused on social justice and intergenerational healing for Latinx families, this account gives parents validation and resources to break harmful generational cycles. The feed includes information on virtual parenting events and news for the Latinx community.59. Therapyforlatinx: This brand wants to make it easy for Latinx individuals to connect with a Latinx mental health professional. You can find a therapist using their directory or browse their feed for valuable and relatable mental health insights.60. Maria Laguna, L.C.S.W.: Laguna is a bilingual English and Spanish-speaking psychotherapist. This feed includes a mix of mental health resources, inspirational quotes, and reminders to care for yourself and to “use your PTO.”61. Nalgona Positivity Pride: This account takes aim at diet culture, raises awareness about eating disorders, and encourages body liberation with bright and beautiful imagery. The brand also sells merchandise on Etsy with messages like, “Eating disorders are a social justice issue” and “F**k diet culture.”62. Latina to Latina: Each Monday, this podcast brings a weekly dose of “Latina greatness,” according to its Instagram bio. In every episode, host Alicia Menendez talks to a new guest about the challenges of existing and thriving as Latinas. You’ll hear from a variety of people, including editors, medical professionals, farmers, and chefs.63. Jacqueline Mendez, L.M.F.T.: Mendez is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a certified sex therapist, according to her website. Her Instagram feed includes insights on sexual health, relationships, and validating your emotions.64. Eliza Boquin, M.A., L.M.F.T.: According to her bio, Boquin is a psychotherapist and sex therapist who is committed to supporting Black and Brown people. Her thoughtful posts touch on social justice, sex, grief, and self-love.65. Poderistas: A Poderista is someone who “elevates, amplifies, and builds power through their actions and by harnessing the power of the collective”, according to the brand. This feed showcases Poderistas in a variety of industries, posts positive affirmations, and provides information about virtual wellness events.Back to the top.LGBTQ+ collectives, organizations, and people to follow66. Queer Sex Therapy: This account from Casey Tanner, licensed clinical profesional counselor, provides sex-positive insight on soothing, colorful backgrounds. She also poses thoughtful questions to the community and offers templates to help you be more mindful about your own sexuality.

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Talk About in Therapy

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Talk About in Therapy

If you consistently have trouble speaking up in therapy, this can be an opportunity to check-in about the process and whether your therapist is a good fit. There are also different therapeutic styles, so it’s possible that you may do better with a different approach. Your therapist can work to tailor their methods to you or help you find someone else that you might like working with better. “I’m not the right therapist for everyone,” Dr. Pirutinsky says. He recalls one client who wasn’t engaged during their sessions. Eventually, Dr. Pirutinsky broached this with the individual, learned the person preferred working with a therapist who was Black, and helped his patient find a new therapist.Dr. Johnson agrees that it’s really useful for her to know when someone is struggling with their sessions. “That really helps me understand, ‘OK I think what we need to do at this moment is explore that more. I need to ask more digging questions rather than very broad surface-level questions,” she says.Oftentimes, people begin therapy when they have a lot going on. But once you’ve worked through some specific events (for example, managing work stress) you may feel like you have nothing to talk about. That can be a good opportunity to explore and process deeper areas, such as having self-esteem issues or previous traumas. “As a therapist, I can be like, ‘Well, this is something that you’ve wanted to talk about, but you’ve had a lot going on. I wonder if now is a time when you have more resilience to talk about that,’” Dr. Johnson says. To this end, your therapist might ask about past experiences so you can reflect on patterns or gain insight into how prior events affect your outlook and behavior now.A “quiet” session can also be a chance to create or re-evaluate goals, both experts say. “Sometimes, silence indicates that you’ve accomplished some things. Either it’s time to focus on new goals or integrate new methods to accomplish your goals,” Dr. Pirutinsky says. Depending on your particular situation, you and your therapist might decide to adopt a new strategy for your sessions or discuss if you want to continue with therapy at all.“Sometimes I might say, ‘It sounds like you are at a place where therapy is not something that you need right now,”’ Dr. Johnson says. “That can be a scary thing for someone, especially if you’ve gotten a lot out of therapy.” If you don’t feel ready to give up therapy completely, then you may just go less often.Experiment with ways to stimulate conversation in therapy.There are no rules for going to therapy, but there are ways to feel like you’re being more thoughtful in your sessions. One way to do that is by preparing for your meeting. Throughout the week, keep track of things that happen so you don’t forget and then bring that list to therapy. These situations don’t have to feel very big either—they can include a misunderstanding you had with a friend, waking up feeling irritable one day, or listening to a particular song on repeat. (You can do this informally on your notes app.)Bringing in props, such as family photos, a poem you wrote, or a song that resonates with you can help get things going, too, Dr. Pirutinsky says. “Human beings are so multifactorial and complex, and there are many, many ways of getting to know someone,” Dr. Pirutinsky explains. For example, exploring why you can’t stop listening to a certain song can be insightful. Similarly, talking about photos can help people remember details more vividly and is helpful when talking about painful memories (with a little questioning and guidance from your therapist).Whenever you’re feeling stuck in the middle of a session, try to take that moment to yourself and do a brief body scan, Dr. Johnson says. You can even say something like, “I don’t know what to talk about, so I’m going to take a brief moment to reflect on how I’m feeling.” Then, close your eyes and tune into how your body feels in that moment—and if you’re holding onto any tension—and discuss whatever feelings you notice with your therapist.Remember that progress isn’t immediate. Some sessions may just feel uneventful, and it can take some time before you notice any changes or feel like you’ve gained insight. “Sometimes it can feel like a session was really helpful, and we feel really good about those sessions. It’s normal for some sessions to not seem super productive,” Dr. Johnson says. “Therapy is a process.”Related:

22 Things Frequent Travelers Say You Need for Road Trips

22 Things Frequent Travelers Say You Need for Road Trips

Car trips can be a lot of fun, or they can feel like a mistake. I’ve found that bringing the right things on a road trip can make the experience so much better. Even though traveling is great, being in an enclosed space for hours can be tedious if you don’t have things to help you feel more comfortable (which, admittedly, I often don’t, as a last-minute packer who forgets travel essentials like snacks or a phone charger).And if you’re going to take a road trip during the pandemic, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still spreading throughout the country. Before leaving, it’s a good idea to read about how you can travel safely right now—even if you’re fully vaccinated. Regardless of how you’re traveling, it’s smart to pack plenty of extra masks, hand sanitizer, and some cash just in case you need to make a purchase somewhere that doesn’t have credit card machines.To help you get ready for any upcoming car journeys, I reached out to people who frequently travel for their advice on the best things to bring on a road trip. Some of their recommendations are helpful reminders; others are a little more surprising (like supplies to make overnight oats) or fun (because we’re talking about travel, after all). Hopefully, this list will help elevate your next car trip.All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

5 Things to Do When You’re So Irritable You Might Snap

5 Things to Do When You’re So Irritable You Might Snap

It’s entirely possible to be irritable and depressed at the same time. Although depression is often associated with only sadness or hopelessness, it can also manifest as anger, frustration, and irritability, according to Jessica Borrelli1, Ph.D., associate professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine.After managing the tremendous ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s only natural for basically everyone to feel more than a little irritable as a baseline emotional state. But if you’re also dealing with things like a lack of interest in your regular hobbies, trouble thinking, wonky sleep patterns, and emotions like the aforementioned sadness and hopelessness, then you may be dealing with major depressive disorder. Or maybe you have a different condition, like bipolar disorder, that can cause depressive episodes and make it harder to manage your irritability right now, too. There’s no easy way to manage depression, but hopefully, some of these strategies can help you navigate being irritable and depressed.1. Talk to a therapist (if at all possible).Depression can make you feel stuck and this can be hard to overcome on your own either because you don’t know what to do or you don’t have the motivation or energy to do anything. Talking to a therapist about your feelings can help you explore if there’s a deeper meaning behind some of your irritability, says Jessica Stern2, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Your therapist can also help you reframe some of the negative thinking depression causes and help you find ways to include more positive experiences.If you don’t already have a therapist, looking for one can be a long process. Asking your insurance provider for clinicians in your area is an option, but that’s not accessible to everyone. OpenPath is one resource that lists clinicians who accept reduced fees, or you can search on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration database for lower-cost centers in your area. You can also check out the Anxiety & Depression Association of America database for support groups in the U.S. If you already see a therapist, let them know that you would like help managing your irritability. They will most likely ask you for specifics examples, so they can offer suggestions for your situation.2. Consult with your doctor about taking medications that could help.People often describe depression as feeling stuck in a cycle that’s hard to escape. Taking antidepressants can help break that cycle, according to Nicole Johnson3, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and associate professor of the counseling psychology program at Lehigh University College of Education. “Seeking psychiatric in addition to psychological support can be really helpful,” Dr. Johnson tells SELF. If you take antidepressants but feel like they aren’t helping, either because you’re really irritable, feel very down, or have other depressive symptoms, then you may want to ask your doctor to try something else or to change your dose.It’s really important to talk to your mental health care team if you have bipolar disorder and think you’re entering a depressive mood episode, even if you’re currently on medication, says David Miklowitz4, Ph.D. director of the Max Gray Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program at UCLA Semel Institute. Typically, your doctor will prescribe mood stabilizers or antipsychotic medications to help you maintain more stable moods, depending on your situation5. Your physician will reevaluate your treatment plan to make sure it’s the best one to help you maintain a stable mood. (Keep in mind that your treatment options may change over time based on new research and newly available therapies. Make sure you have ongoing conversations with your doctor about which treatment options may be best for you.)3. Try to engage in things you enjoy (or used to enjoy).When you’re depressed, going out is usually the last thing that you want to do—but therapists recommend it time and again. The idea is that engaging in a positive activity will potentially improve your mood over time (so, not necessarily instantly, unfortunately). There isn’t one right way to do this, so try to identify things that you previously looked forward to doing. You might go for a walk one day, take an outdoor workout class the next, and then have coffee with a friend that you are close to on the weekend. (Spending time outside and enjoying the sunlight may help improve your mood.) “What I tell people to do is to try it for a week or a few days, and not expect it to feel good at all,” Dr. Borrelli says, at least at first.

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